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What makes you wish you understood Russian?
Odd you’d ask me, Habib le toubib! Russian actually is a language I wish I understood.
- There’s a little bit of Byzantine literature published in Russia, and it’d be useful to access the literature.
- There’s a bit more Russian writing on Balkan linguistics: ditto.
- Much more so: Mariupolitan Greek, spoken in the Ukraine, is substantially documented in Russian (and to a lesser extent Ukrainian); I’m at a disadvantage going through the older sources on it.
- Maxim Kisilier, Neohellenist in St Petersburg and Quora user, mostly publishes his stuff in Russian, as do his students and his colleagues. (Maxim, is Fatima Eloeva still there?) And it’s very good stuff.
- I knew several Russians in high school and uni, and I took a liking to some Russian literature and music. Baratinsky, Shostakovich, Mavakovsky. (Yes, that’s an eclectic list.) And the Russians, they are so духовные! (No, not David Duchovny; “spiritual”). I did in fact teach myself Russian for a few months in high school, which… is not a lot, but it’s better than nothing.
- The main languages of Western Europe, I’ve got: I can access a lot of stuff that way, online, and it’s helped with tourism too. Because I don’t have much Slavonic (apart from those few months), Eastern Europe is a closed book to me. But Eastern Europe for me are cultural neighbours; it’d be nice if they weren’t a closed book.